"Poem and prose introduction together enact the
quintessential fiction of the so-called fragment" (CLA 309).
"Interruption and loss are the necessary guarantors . . .
of ideal vision: the fragment is the form that artfully
intimates a whole beyond human potential to achieve" (CLA
Interesting interpretive essay
Forms of Creation/Creativity
Portrayal of the Feminine and Sexuality
Homework Questions: 464:
Explain: "if that indeed can be called composition in
which all the images rose up before him as things, with a
parallel production of the correspondent expressions, without
any sensation or consciousness of effort" (464).
How does this statement reflect Wordsworth's concept of
"emotion reflected in tranquility" (314)?
Explain: "All the rest had passed away like the
images on the surface of a stream into which a stone had been
What exactly is this poem about?
Describe the portrayal of women in this poem.
Describe the figure of the poet in this poem.
Describe the savage place of stanza two.
Explain the connection between sexuality and war in the
Explain the final stanza.
"Christabel" (1797-1801) Things to Consider:
Elements of the Gothic :
Atmosphere of mystery and suspense (indeterminacy of
Religion, esp. Catholic church, as oppressive force
Setting in old/decayed castle
Omens, portents, visions
Supernatural or otherwise inexplicable events
High, even overwrought emotion
Women in distress
Metonymy of gloom and horror
Dove imagery and conflation of Christabel (Bard Bracy's
report of dream) and Geraldine (Sir Leoline's response)
Portrayal of Sexuality
Homework Questions: 467:
Why does Coleridge make such specific efforts in the
preface to counter potential threats of plagiarism?
Describe the imagery that is used to open the poem
(1-22). What kind of mood is established?
Why does Christabel go into the woods to pray instead of
staying at home?
How plausible is Geraldine's story of how she happened to
be at the oak tree? Explain.
Explain the footnote to line 132.
Explain lines 145-53.
Explain lines 252-54.
What is the significance of the comparison of Geraldine
to a mother in lines 298-301?
Why does Christabel believe she has sinned (381)?
Explain Bard Bracy's dream.
Other Discussion Questions: 472:
Explain Geraldine's comments in lines 210-13. In what
ways, if at all, are these lines reminiscent of the
competition between Death and Life-in-Death in the "Ancient
Mariner" (195-98)? Explain.
What is the purpose of the image of the "three sinful
sextons' ghosts" (353)?
Who is Lord Roland de Vaux of Tryermaine (407)?
Explain lines 433-43. Is this a realistic promise? Explain.
Explain lines 447-62.
Is it possible to passively imitate someone (605)?
Why does Leoline experience rage and pain (638)?
Why does Leoline feel dishonored?
How does "The Conclusion to Part 2" relate to the
narrative that precedes it?
"Dejection: An Ode" (1802)
How does this poem compare with Wordsworth's "Intimations
What is an Eolian lute (7)?
Explain lines 17-20.
Explain: "I see them all so excellently fair, / I see, not
feel, how beautiful they are!" (37-38).
Explain: "I may not hope from outward forms to win / The
passion and the life, whose fountains are within" (45-46).
How do descriptions of "shaping spirit of imagination"
(86) and the claim that "We receive but what we give, / And in
our life alone does Nature live" (47-48) compare with "the
artfully equivocal representation of the exchange of mind and
nature in 'Tintern Abbey [esp. 103-112]?'" (CLA 311).
Explain lines 67-70.
How is the wind functioning in lines 96ff?
What friend is he discussing in lines 127-136?
Explain the final three lines.
Explain the imagery used in lines 21-22.
How does the reference to genial spirits (39) compare with
the description found in "Tintern Abbey" (111ff)?
Compare lines 76-81 with "Intimations Ode," lines 1-9.